Colombia's Acesco working to complete HDG expansion by Q4

Colombian steel coater and distributor Acesco is carrying out its hot-dipped galvanizing expansion project at its Malambo plant in northern Colombia and is expected to commission it by the fourth quarter, a source from the company tells Steel Business Briefing.

The project should double the Malambo plant's HDG capacity to 320,000 t/y. Acesco is also mulling construction of a colour-coating line, as previously reported by SBB. The Colombian mill recently acquired Costa Rican HDG producer Galvatica and says it intends to supply Central American and Caribbean markets from the newly acquired mill.

"We are working to commence operations in September/October, but it will depend on several things, such as equipment suppliers' deliveries, for instance", he comments. Acesco is a major steel group in Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia, with operations in countries like Puerto Rico, Panama and Costa Rica.

Publication: SBB - Steel Business Briefing
Provider: Steel Business Briefing
Date: January 29, 2008


Coffee - Colombia has its best year for a decade

Colombia's coffee industry had its best year in 2007 for 10 years. Export revenues rose at their fastest rate since 1998 and hit US$1.9bn. The coffee industry is the biggest employer of rural labour. Around 500,000 families depend on the industry. The industry accounts or about 24% of total agricultural output.

On official statistics, the coffee industry is far more important to the economy than the illegal drug industry, though in cash terms the illegal drugs industry probably has a turnover equivalent to about 10% of the country's total official GDP of US$135bn in 2006, according to the World Bank.

Coffeemen said that the good result in 2007 is the product of an improvement in productivity which has led to an increase in the acreage planted with coffee and a replacement of exhausted coffee bushes. In 2007 the industry increased its production by about 500,000 (60kg) to 12.6m bags according to the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros. This was 4% up on 2006 and the highest production figure for 10 years. Unusually, the surge in production was accompanied by an increase in coffee prices. The average price of Colombian coffee was US$1.26 per pound, 8% up on 2006's average.

The main reason for the run-up in the international price has been poor coffee crops in Brazil and Vietnam, the two big swing producers in the world coffee industry. Colombia's elaborate system of minimum prices that are linked to the international market price means that 92% of the international price finds its way to growers. In most coffee producing countries, middlemen scoop out between 15% and 25% of the export price. Colombian coffee still commands a premium in the crucial US market.

Publication: LatinNews - Economy & Business
Provider: Latin American Newsletters
Date: January 26, 2008